Wesleyan and Anabaptist perfectionisms are the emerging dominant forms of Christian social witness in America, according to this fascinating piece in First Things by Dale Coulter of Regent University. He's certainly right about their pervasive influence but unduly optimistic about their plausibility and sustainability, much less desirability.
As a Methodist, I hope thoughtful Calvinists will provide a corrective dose of realism and sturdy doctrine to the social cul-de-sacs and Utopianism towards which both perfectionist traditions seem to spiral when untethered from church teaching about the limits of fallen humanity. It's not fair to fault Methodism exclusively for the excesses of the Social Gospel, whose key early proponent, Walter Rauschenbusch, was a liberal northern Baptist. It was fueled by German romanticism and New England, post-Congregationalist Unitarian transcendentalism. But Wesleyanism, once liberalized and unhinged from supernatural teachings about Christian cosmology, generously watered the roots of the Social Gospel movement and ultimately fully embraced it.
Methodism as a mass movement provided much of the activist machinery for Social Gospel energy if not much of the intellectual formation. This storyline is often repeated. Wesleyans are more comfortably doers than deep thinkers, Much of official Methodism, as it transitioned through its Prohibition crusade, easily abandoned traditional Methodism's affirmation of human nature's total depravity and complete need for transformation through the new birth. The new imperative, displacing evangelism and holiness, became earnest intent and constant activity for societal improvement. No human condition was beyond the reach of social and political reform. more >>
A confidential complaint has been filed against 36 United Methodist Church clergy who blessed a gay wedding in defiance of the official rules of the Protestant denomination.
The complaint was recently filed against clergy belonging to the Eastern Pennsylvania Annual Conference for a same-sex marriage they officiated last November.
Bishop Peggy A. Johnson, head of the Conference, said in a statement given to The Christian Post by her office that the complaint will be processed according to the Book of Discipline. more >>
A decision by a United Methodist Church appeals committee that reinstated a pastor defrocked for officiating a same-sex wedding might be appealed.
Rev. Frank Schaefer, a pastor from Pennsylvania who had his clergy credentials recently restored by the Northeastern Jurisdictional Committee on Appeals, might lose them once more. The Rev. Christopher Fisher, who served as prosecutor on behalf of the UMC, has until Thursday, August 21 to file an appeal of the decision.
The appeal deadline marks 60 days before the annual meeting of the United Methodist Judicial Council, the highest court in the Protestant denomination. more >>
A United Methodist Church pastor defrocked for officiating his son's same-sex marriage had his clergy credentials reinstated by a church court on appeal.
Frank Schaefer, a Pennsylvania pastor defrocked last December, was reinstated Tuesday courtesy a decision from the Northeastern Jurisdictional Committee on Appeals.
In a statement following the decision, Schaefer called the appeals committee's decision "a hopeful sign for our LGBTQ community." more >>
Defrocked United Methodist Church pastor Frank Schaefer, who went against doctrine and officiated his son's same-sex wedding, has said that he will argue before a church panel on Friday that his punishment was illegal.
"I would like to get my credentials back," said Schaefer, 52, according to The Associated Press on Wednesday. "I'm hoping for a 're-frocking.'"
The pastor was officially defrocked by UMC in December after he refused to turn over his credentials following a meeting with the Board of Ordained Ministry. He was accused of violating his pastoral vows by performing his son's marriage to another man at a 2007 ceremony in Massachusetts. more >>
A group of conservative members of the United Methodist Church have signed an open letter to the supporters of a petition calling for the denomination to let individual congregations determine their stance on homosexuality.
At issue is the UMC's official position on homosexuality, which while recognizing the inherent worth of homosexual persons nonetheless declares the practice of homosexuality "incompatible with Christian teaching."
Posted on the website of the denomination's Good News Magazine last week, the open letter was addressed to Adam Hamilton, senior pastor of The Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, and Mike Slaughter, lead pastor of Ginghamsburg UMC of Tipp City, Ohio. more >>